This National Mexican Holiday, paying tribute to the Battle of Puebla, has become increasingly popular in the states. The Bay Area with its rich heritage and cultural diversity, knows just how to celebrate. Gather your chiquitos and immerse yourself in the day’s traditions at one of these local Cinco de Mayo events.
photo: Katia Fuentes
1. Mission Neighborhood Center’s Cinco de Mayo Festival
Going on its 14th year, this family-friendly celebration takes place in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. It showcases the best of Mexican and Latin American cultures with a diverse array of foods, musical performances, dance, artistry, cultural experiences and activities for the whole family.
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Valencia Street, between 21st and 24th, San Francisco
2. Cinco de Mayo Magnificent Metal Art
Join Creative Family Fun at the Presidio Officers’ Club and celebrate the holiday with a craft honoring the tradition of Mexican metal tooling. Make your own “repujado”–a traditional mexican art form where metal is raised, decorated and made into designs–metal art piece. Registration not required, but preferred.
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave. San Francisco
3. Piedmont Language School’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Now on it’s seventh year, this celebration represents Piedmont Language School’s dedication to the Mexican and Latin American cultures. Proceeds help boost language and cultural education in Piedmont schools and the community. Enjoy a taco bar, churros, margaritas for the adults, activities for the little ones, music and exciting raffle prizes.
Date & Time: Thurs., May 3, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Location: Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Ave. Oakland
Cost: In advance tickets: $30/adults; $14/children 11 and under; $65/family of five, visit piedmontstore.com or $35/adult; $16/children 11 and under; $70/family of five, at the door
photo: The Richmond Standard
4. Richmond Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival
Come celebrate at this annual event, hosted by the 23rd Street Merchant’s Association. Featuring live music on three stages, Native American dancing, Lucha Libre wrestling, delicious, local, traditional foods, tons of kids activities, pony rides, bouncy houses, community resource groups, games, giveaways and more.
Date & Time: Sun., May 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: 23rd Street, between Clinton and Rheem Avenues, Richmond
5. Half Moon Bay Concerts in the Park Cinco de Mayo Concert
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mariachi San Francisco, as the city kicks off their family-friendly concert series, in downtown Half Moon Bay. Everyone is invited!
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Mac Dutra Plaza, corner of Main Street and Kelly Avenue
photo: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
6. Lunada Familiar–Family Lunada
In small towns around Mexico, community members come together on full moon nights, to share stories, poetry and music. Join the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose for their Cinco de Mayo Lunada Familiar–Family Lunada. Enjoy an evening of art, culture, circus fun, African drumming, folkloric dance and complimentary snacks.
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way, San Jose
7. Cinco de Mayo: Book and Craft
Join the San Jose Public Library and learn about the history of Cinco de Mayo, listen to a reading of the award wining book, “Niño Wrestles the World” by Yuyi Morales and make your very own Lucha Libre mask.
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 11 a.m. (Check here for various times throughout day)
Location: Evergreen Branch Library, 2635 Aborn Rd. San Jose (Check here for more library locations)
photo: Joe Collins
8. The Cantina Cinco de Mayo Beach Party
Come enjoy the holiday at The Cantina restaurant, as they convert their parking lot into a beach front fiesta. Enjoy music, jumpy’s, sandbox kids zone, full service beach and bar for the grown up’s.
Good to know: No dogs allowed on the “beach”.
Date & Time: Fri–Sun., May 4-6, 11:30 a.m. (beach area), 4 p.m. (jumpy’s Friday), noon (jumpy’s Sat. & Sun.)
Location: 651 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley
Cost: $15 all day jumpy wristband
9. Marin Country Mart’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Come on out to the Mart for a full day of celebration, including tortilla making for the kids, taco bar hosted by El Huarache restaurant, piñata, discounted margaritas for mom and dad (ask about virgin margaritas for your minis) and more.
Date & Time: Sat., May 5, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Location: 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur
photo: William Murray
10. Cinco de Mayo at Sonoma Plaza
Join La Luz Center and the Sonoma community, at this family-centered celebration full of live entertainment, kid zone, authentic food, contests, cantina garden and much more.
Date & Time: Sun., May 6, noon–7 p.m.
Location: Sonoma Plaza, 1 The Plaza, Sonoma
photo: Dario Treviño
Get Your Pre Cinco de Mayo Fiesta On
Latin Grammy winning, Colombian born artist-123 Andrés, is coming to the Bay. Travel the Americas with his 50 minute, high energy, interactive show, that celebrates the Latin culture and will get the whole family dancing and singing as you learn Spanish. Catch one of his upcoming Spring concerts and get ready to bailar (dance)!
Date, Time & Location:
April 21, noon, San Rafael Public Library, San Rafael
April 23, 4 p.m. San Mateo Public Library, San Mateo
April 24, 4:30 p.m. Belle Haven Library, Menlo Park
April 25, 5 p.m. Biblioteca Latinoamericana, San Jose
April 26, 6:30 p.m. Redwood City Library, Redwood City
April 27, 4:30 p.m. Hillview Branch, San Jose Public Library
April 28, 2 p.m. San Leandro Public Library
photo: dabruins07 via flickr
Local’s Secret: Nieves Cinco de Mayo
Sure this one’s not a celebration, unless you count the party in your mouth. This shop’s must try is the Mangonada, a frozen Mexican treat that is made of mango ice cream, chopped mangos and a mix of chili spices and tamarind candy. They also serve several kid friendly fruit flavors and other Latin flavors and treats. Stop by their Oakland (3340 E 12th St, Oakland) or San Francisco (2590 Mission St., San Francisco) shop while at the festivals.
What’s your favorite, local Cinco de Mayo event? Tell us about it below!
—Nella DuBon-Koch and Sonia Gandiaga